By Matt Farr
Championship rivals Birmingham City could be set to join the race to sign experienced defender Christopher Samba this summer, according to a report.
The Birmingham Mail claim that the 33-year-old could be one of several potential transfer targets for new Birmingham chief Harry Redknapp, as he seeks quality reinforcements ahead of next season.
Redknapp confirmed in his column for the Standard last week that he already has his eye on ‘two or three players’ who are available on free transfers, and the Mail suggests Samba could be one of them.
Samba has been without a club since January after his contract at Greek outfit Panathinaikos was terminated, but the defender has been training with Aston Villa with the hope of landing a deal.
The former Congo international arrived at Villa Park at the end of last season, but will continue to be assessed over the coming months as Steve Bruce weighs up a potential contract offer.
However, with fierce rivals Birmingham reported to be circling, Bruce may face a potential blow in his attempts to win the race for his signature.
Bruce will be aware of the history the defender has with rival chief Redknapp, with the former Tottenham boss having worked with Samba at QPR in 2013.
The well-travelled player has vast experience in England, having spent five years at Blackburn Rovers, prior to his six-month spell with QPR.
Football Insider verdict
A deal for Samba would be valuable for both clubs. Birmingham are in dire need of experience and quality, having narrowly escaped relegation to League One, and Redknapp has set his sights on promotion next season. To do that, he will need players capable of transforming the club, and Samba could be a fantastic addition. His current availability will also come as a huge bonus, as he won’t require a transfer fee, but his current flirtations with Aston Villa could be a concern. Bruce is still unconvinced over a potential deal for Samba, but his mind could be made up during pre-season, as Villa too seek experienced recruits. Both sides should pursue a potential deal, but Villa, who could be considered in the drivers’ seat, cannot afford to let their rivals swoop in.
In other Aston Villa transfer news, yet another player has confirmed his departure from the club.